Brow beaten? Consider the options

Posted on March 24th, 2010 by Michelle

For many, the solution to thinning hair is a transplant.  But what do you do about thinning eyebrows?  Exactly the same thing.

Follicle by follicle, hair restoration surgeons can replenish or replace not just the hairs on top of your head, but those on the front of it as well. That probably sounds like an extreme solution to a minor problem, but face it – eyebrows are something people notice right away.

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Whether they’re perfectly arched, drawn on with crayon or you’re sporting a unibrow, others notice. So when brows are thinning, patchy or missing all together, those who say it doesn’t affect their self-confidence are most likely fibbing.

There are a lot of reasons people lose their eyebrows:  Medical treatments such as radiation or chemotherapy; thyroid issues; and simply aging can all cause thinness.  More and more frequently, experts say they are being called upon to fix the thin, patchy brows that are the result of long-term overzealous plucking.

The internet is rife with sob stories from women who have been tweezing since their “tweens,” and whose eyebrows stopped growing back … giving me yet another reason to be glad I ignored mine until my mid 30s.  Tired of filling in the missing locks with pencils and powders, more women, and some men, are turning to transplants.  Dr. Jeffrey Epstein, who has practices across the U.S., says on his website that he is performing two to three transplants a week, and that 30 percent of his eyebrow clients are men.  He estimates the cost for the procedure at $3,000-$5,000.

According to the International Society of Hair Restoration Surgery (ISHRS), there are different procedures available to restore or replace eyebrows: micrografting, when one or two hairs at a time are transplanted into the brow; and less frequently, flap or strip grafting, when a strip of appropriate hair is transplanted to the brow area.

Surprisingly, the so-called donor hair used for eyebrow transplants is finer rather than coarser, to be a better match. It sometimes has to be trained to keep its shape with gel or wax, and because it grows at a faster rate than typical eyebrow hair, it will likely have to be trimmed more often.  According to stories of people who have had the procedure done, it takes a couple of months before you start seeing the results. That’s the time it takes for the hair to take root in its new position and start to grow again.

Of course, transplants aren’t for everyone. There are the traditional pencils and powders, if they don’t conjure scary thoughts of the third-grade teacher with drawn-on eyebrows that keep you up at night. And don’t forget the eyebrow toupee. Why sew it on when you can stick it on?

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